Unexpected Learning

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It was early Tuesday morning, real early, of last week. I’d woken from my second dream that that night, rolled over, and found my cell phone which doubles as my alarm clock. It was 3:33am. Blast.

I starred at the ceiling unable to fall asleep. “Why am I still awake God?” I prayed, after several minutes of unsuccessful attempts at drifting back into my subconscious. It wasn’t that I couldn’t fall back asleep that had me wondering I was in this situation, nor was it that I was awake. It was that I was wide-awake. “Are you wanting me to pray or something, Lord?” I asked, after what seemed like twenty minutes. “Are you trying to tell me something?” I waited and listened. Soon my mind started to wander and I forgot what I had asked.

Then I felt it.

A hard jolt and the house started to shake. My bed squeaked and moaned so loud I thought the frame was going to collapse. The shaking lasted only 3 or 4 seconds and stopped, everything returning to its normal stillness. This wasn’t by any means the biggest or longest quake I’ve experienced. In fact, of all the earthquakes I’ve felt in my life, this one in itself was rather unimpressive. Yet it left an indelible mark on my memory.

Matthew 24:7-8 speaks of famines and wars and earthquakes as “birth pains.” For a pregnant woman, the more frequent these birth pains the closer she is to delivering the baby. (Yes. I saw “The Office” episode where Jim and Pam had their baby.)

In the same way, the more frequent the wars and earthquakes, the closer we are to Christ’s return and the coming of the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21). As this thought processed in my mind, I was suddenly overcome by two very real truths. The first was that Jesus Christ, who I’d been studying all quarter (2 ½ months), is very real and very present. It was a fact that left me in awe and stunned silence. The second was the very real possibility of Christ’s return in the next few years.

As I thought about the implications, I was left speechless. Should Christ return in the next three or four years (or sooner), would he find me faithfully serving him in what he’s called me to do? If he’s called me to be a writer, would he find me faithfully writing? If he’s called me to teach, would he find me faithfully teaching? If a janitor, faithfully cleaning? If a student, faithfully studying? This was a convicting and sobering thought. I was not sure at that moment if my answer was a “yes,” or even if it could be “yes.” I hope he does find me faithfully obedient.

What about you? Will he find you faithfully obedient? If Christ were to return within the year, or month even, would he find you faithfully serving him in whatever he’s called you to do? Fortunately, we still time.

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